"Ignore the prophets of doom – this is a golden age for the world"
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Take global poverty, a subject we have heard plenty about from ministers justifying the £9 billion overseas aid budget. Britain has signed up to the so-called Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000 and accompanied by sermons from Gordon Brown about the “arc of the moral universe” bending towards justice. It was the beginning of boom times for the overseas aid industry, despite its woeful track record. The first goal was to halve the proportion of the world’s population living on a dollar a day by 2015 – an undeniably noble aim.
Earlier this year, the World Bank made an astonishing discovery: the target had actually been met in 2008, seven years ahead of schedule. This staggering achievement received no fanfare, perhaps because the miracle had not been created by Western governments but by the economic progress of China and India. Their embrace of capitalism had invited a flow of trade and investment, which was not halted by the crash. Capitalism meant that houses replaced mud huts and vast swathes of the Third World rose from their agrarian knees. British consumers buying cheap shirts in Asda were, in a very real sense, helping to make poverty history.
See also "The Next Great Growth Cycle".
Today’s techno-pessimists say technology and America have plateaued. Such naysayers flourish during economic recessions. They have been wrong in every one of the 19 economic downturns we have experienced since 1912. They’re wrong again.